Frank Sargent 1925 - 2008
Another great loss for the Maltese Community in Melbourne was that of Frank Sargent. Frank passed away on Tuesday 26th August 2008 at the Northern Hospital in Epping, Victoria aged 83.
Frank was well known by the Maltese community in Australia as the defender of our Maltese values, traditions and beliefs. He used the media well when anything negative about Malta or the Maltese was written or said in public.
Frank was always ready to give assistance to anyone within his community and to all those who were in need of support and advice.
Frank was interviewed on many occasions by the Maltese media including local radio stations and the television show Waltzing Matilda. He was a regular contributor to Maltese radio programs in Australia and to the Maltese Herald.
Frank was also a member of many Maltese associations. Those attending Bingo Nights at the Maltese Centre in Parkville each Friday night will surely miss his regular appearances during the breaks when he would deliver the latest news from Malta or the Maltese community here as well as talk about current affairs topics.
Frank Sargent was born in Paola, Malta on January 19th 1925. During the war, Frank served his apprenticeship working in the Royal Navy’s Dockyards repairing ships bombed during the World War II.
Frank met Tessie, his bride to be, in his village’s local shopping district when he was just a 15 year old boy. He married his childhood sweetheart in 1951 and 15 days later they departed for Australia.
Like a large number of migrants who left Malta after the war, Frank stated “I left because there was not enough work for the population in Malta plus not enough dwellings in the late 1940s and early 1950s.” The couple stepped off the ship at Port Melbourne in September 1951. “I was just 25 when I left Malta,” recalled Frank.
Frank said when he and his new wife arrived in Australia they wanted to go home the next day. “But we couldn’t”, he remembered. “You had to pay 20 pounds for the trip and if you returned you had to pay the full fare back to the government.”
The newlyweds spent their first three years together in Gippsland before moving to Preston, then to Fawkner in 1963. The couple had four daughters, Margaret, Hilda, Jennifer, and Tania and seven grandchildren. Frank retired after working at General Motors for 30 years.
He had always taken an active part in Melbourne’s Maltese community and he was still writing articles for the weekly Australian Newspaper, the Maltese Herald until a few months before his death.
Source: Charles J. Belli